Sunday, January 2, 2011

Truthout... News Briefs 01/01/11

News Briefs
Saturday 01 January 2011  

William Rivers Pitt | Over, Done, Finished, Out 
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "These are the columns where people like me are expected to drag out all the events, good and bad, which took place in the year that has now passed us by. 
I'd just as soon avoid the task, but as Frank Herbert observed in Dune, 'The Forms must be obeyed,' so here we go.... It was a bad year. It was a wild year. It is a finished year." 
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US at War Since 1950: A New Year's Meditation
Michael True, Truthout: "At the beginning of the new year, consequences of 'life at war' stare us in the face: the victimization of military and civilian populations and a huge national debt, including an annual military budget that is larger than all military budgets in the world combined and includes $5 billion that remains unaccounted for in Iraq, as well as aid to Pakistan that has wound up in the hands of the Taliban.... Any responsible citizen acknowledges this painful history in the hope of redirecting US foreign policy in the future. The purpose of reclaiming it is not to open old wounds, but to encourage legislative and direct action committed to peacemaking. It is a call to critique the policies and competence of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the national security apparatus responsible for these disasters." 
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2011 Looks Grim for Progress on Women's Rights in Iraq
Shashank Bengali and Sahar Issa, McClatchy Newspapers: "Whether this fledgling nation becomes a liberal democracy or an Islamist-led patriarchy might well be judged by the place it affords its women. Nearly eight years after American-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, Iraq's record is decidedly mixed." 
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Ethnic Studies Classes Illegal in Arizona as of January 1
Lourdes Medrano, The Christian Science Monitor: "A controversial Arizona law targeting ethnic studies in public schools will take effect come midnight.... The law bans classes that promote the overthrow of the United States government and resentment toward a race or class of people. Also outlawed are courses designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity rather than treat students as individuals. In Arizona, critics claim that the law – along with the partially suspended immigration law – threatens to make the state a "new South" of discrimination against minorities." 
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Could US Foreign Policy in the Middle East Be Worse? Yes
Stephen Zunes, Truthout: "The Democrats could have taken advantage of their control of both Congress and the White House to support moderate Palestinians and moderate Israelis in their quest for peace. Instead, Pelosi and other Congressional leaders, without any apparent opposition from the Obama White House, have been committed to rewarding right-wing militarists like Netanyahu, while punishing moderates Abbas and Fayyad. Now, the Republicans are ready to push this disastrous policy even further." 
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2010 Closes With Yet More Killer Climate Disasters 
Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress: "As greenhouse pollution continues to build in the atmosphere, 2010 is entering the history books as the hottest year on record. A year of unprecedented extreme weather disasters, 2010 saw tens of thousands of people killed and millions affected by our increasingly dangerous climate. The year is ending with yet more climate disasters, from floods in Australia to winter tornadoes across America." 
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Ellen Goodman | No Time for Tirement 
Ellen Goodman: "In little over a century, Americans have gone from a life expectancy of 47 to one of 78. By 2025 there will be 66 million Americans over 65. The decisions that we make individually and collectively about how to spend this gift of time will reshape the country.... This narrative of older age redefines senior citizenship as less a list of entitlements than a worksheet of contributions. And it fits a popular image of our generation." 
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2010 "Person" of the Year: The US Supreme Court
Bob Burnett, Huffington Post: "There was one 2010 event that, in terms of its long-term impact, loomed above the others, the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Decision.... We've entered a new phase of American history, the Corporatist period where multinational corporations have unbridled political influence. This movement started before the Citizens United decision, but the Roberts' Supreme Court has accelerated the pace and thereby profoundly weakened our democracy." 
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2011: Time for a New, Clear Vision
Randall Amster, Foreign Policy in Focus: "For the coming year, rather than short-term resolutions, I'm issuing an ongoing challenge that is at once personal and political.... I believe that 2011 will be the year that the majority of people in the world demonstrably turn away from the brink of destruction and embrace a spirit of positive innovation and creative intervention in their communities.... The task of unearthing the positive news in our midst is truly a great challenge that will thoroughly engage our searching minds. In that spirit, I sincerely wish you all a very happy new year – and I look forward to creating it together." 
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